Shop Talk: Latina Leading Obama 2012

Posted June 13, 2011 at 7:04pm

Katherine Archuleta has been named political director for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

Currently chief of staff for Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Archuleta becomes the first Latina to serve in this role on a major presidential campaign.

Archuleta served as an aide to former Denver Mayors John Hickenlooper and Federico Peña, and she was also an aide to Peña during his tenure in the mid-1990s at the departments of Transportation and Energy. Archuleta also previously worked as executive director at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation.

SoCal Shift Sparks New Firm

Englander Knabe & Allen, a Los Angeles-based government relations and communications firm, announced it is forming a full-service campaign consulting firm.

EKA Campaigns will operate as an independent entity. Along with issues campaigning, the firm will help candidates and committees create independent expenditure, public affairs and candidate campaigns.

Running the new firm is GOP consultant Chris Bryan, a veteran of campaigns for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Florida Rep. Clay Shaw, former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and the California Republican Party.

EKA Managing Partner Harvey Englander said the changing political landscape and redistricting gave the firm a window: “We looked at the current landscape of consultants and saw an opportunity to create something new.”

Espinoza Signs On

Ed Espinoza, the former Western states political director at the Democratic National Committee, joined direct-mail firm Mack Crounse Group and is also running his own general consulting shop, Espinoza Campaigns, in Austin, Texas.

In 2010, Espinoza was responsible for the DNC’s plan to mobilize Latinos in the Colorado primary for Sen. Michael Bennet and in the general election for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.). He also worked with the California and Texas state parties and was involved in Hawaii’s 1st district special election.

At Mack Crounse, Espinoza is continuing his focus on Latinos and the West. From his base in Austin, Espinoza is servicing clients across the Western region.

Kanevsky Joins Firm

Republican polling firm American Viewpoint recently hired David Kanevsky as research director.

Kanevsky, who served as campaign manager for Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) last year, is a former quantitative research manager at Glevum Associates, and in 2009 he polled in Iraq on behalf of the U.S. military. He was previously a senior project director at Public Opinion Strategies, where he worked on Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential polling team.

In 2010, American Viewpoint worked on the teams of GOP Sens. Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Johnny Isakson (Ga.), as well as freshman Reps. Vicky Hartzler (Mo.), Austin Scott (Ga.) and Marlin Stutzman (Ind.).

Summers Splits Senate

Jon Summers left his post as communications director for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to serve as senior vice president for political consulting firm GMMB.

Summers had worked for Reid for the past five years. He worked on the re-election campaign before taking charge of Reid’s Senate communications operation and the Democrats’ “war room.”

Before joining Reid in 2006, Summers spent eight months as communications director for the Democratic Governors Association.

Staffing Up for State Races

The Republican State Leadership Committee announced last week that Matt Walter has been named political director.

Walter will direct the committee’s expenditures, which are expected to exceed $21 million for this cycle’s races, including lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and legislative.

Walter has worked as executive director of the New York Republican Party, campaign manager for New York Republican Rick Lazio’s gubernatorial campaign and get-out-the-vote operations director for freshman Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.).

Former Farmer Rejoins Wilson

Former New Mexico Rep. Heather Wilson hired Bryce Dustman to manage her Senate campaign.

Dustman served as the Republican’s chief of staff from June 2001 until she left office in January 2009. This year he served as chief of staff for Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.).

Before joining Wilson’s Congressional staff 10 years ago, Dustman worked for then-Sens. Jack Danforth (R-Mo.) and Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) and then-Rep. Phil Crane (R-Ill.). He was communications director for the Republican grass-roots organization GOPAC from 1998 to 2000.

Dustman is a “farmer by vocation,” according to a Wilson release, and he ran his own farm for seven years before moving to Washington, D.C.

RNC Boosts Regionals

The Republican National Committee has hired two regional press secretaries.

Ryan Mahoney, who will focus on the West, came to the RNC from the Maryland GOP, where he served a dual role as communications director and political director.

Mahoney served as the Wisconsin Republican Party field director in 2009 and deputy communications director in 2008.

Focusing on the East is Ryan Tronovitch, who rejoined the RNC from Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) office, where he served as deputy communications director. Tronovitch served as the Midwest regional press secretary in the 2010 cycle, and he was North Carolina communications director for Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign.

The new specialty media press secretary is Victoria Martinez, who spent the past four years working for former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), first as press secretary and later as district director.

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